It may seem confined to dreadlocked jokers hacking a sack outside the 7-11 while subconsciously pleading for women to stop and marvel, but it’s much more serious than that. After Oregon dudes John Stalberger and Mike Marshall invented the thing in 1972, the International Footbag Player’s Association began holding world championships—where competitors perform routines set to music—in 1979. They even have their own Lance Armstrong, six-time winner Vaclav Klouda of the Czech Republic, and world records, like Tricia George and Gary Lautt juggling for 20 hours and 34 minutes. Which just leaves us wondering, Isn’t this a lot of fuss over people trying to look cool while kicking a glorified beanbag?
6. Ice dancing
It’s been an Olympic sport since 1976, but 2006 silver medalist Tanith Belbin’s hotness aside, “ballroom dancing on ice” is basically just sucky figure skating. It’s illegal to jump or demonstrate “obvious feats of strength” like overhead lifts, the skaters wear ultra-cheesy costumes and grins, and there’s actually a move called the “twizzle.” And yet this event lurked behind one of the Olympics’ biggest scandals. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, French figure skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne revealed that her skating federation’s president, Didier Gailhaguet, had pressured her into handing a Russian pair the gold medal—in the hope of winning Russia’s support for France’s ice dancing team! Said another judge: “The French have been trying to figure out how to win in ice dancing. I know Gailhaguet has been working for those votes.” Apparently, no one told him that ice dancing totally blows.
5. Doubles luge
There can be no debate that competing in luge, which involves barreling down an icy track at up to 80 miles per hour, takes serious stones. But what weirdo’s idea was it to have one guy in a skintight suit mount another and do the same thing? Nobody knows, though Canadian luge official Doug Maybee once theorized that, after four or five beers, one luger turned to another and said, “Hey dude, get on top of me.” Coed teams are legal, but only all-male teams actually compete, with the bigger guy riding on top to reduce wind resistance. Could this possibly be more homoerotic? As anyone who caught Today Show hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker squealing like schoolgirls when they tried it out in Torino a couple years ago knows, there’s no debating the answer to that, either.
Kids hopping in the neighbor’s backyard? Fun. Juggies jiggling on Man Show re-runs? Awesome. People winning medals for leaping in leotards? Horse crap. But since 2000, trampoline—invented by Iowan George Nissen in 1936, the name comes from the Spanish word for diving board—has indeed held this status, as part of gymnastics. So it’s considered equal to the pommel horse and rings, which require actual strength, and more sporting than karate and rugby, which have been trying to crack the Olympics for decades. The only thing that could make this fey flipfest watchable would be a bed of spikes or ring of fire around the edges, to raise the stakes a bit. On the upside, the male bronze medalist in Beijing was named Dong Dong. We think you can take it from there.